Police departments increasing patrols for the holidays

SOUTH MISSISSIPPI (WLOX) - The holidays are upon us and that means the roads will be full of traffic for the next few weeks. Coast police departments see the increase in traffic as a need to increase their presence.

Families and friends across the coast will be traveling to celebrate the Christmas season with loved ones. The Gulfport Police Department wants to make sure they arrive at their destinations safely.

"What we want people to understand is, you can still celebrate, you can still have a good time. But do it without the drinking and driving," said Sergeant Damon McDaniel.

According to McDaniel, the Gulfport PD wants to stress that a split second decision to drink and drive could be the difference between life and death. To curb the possibilities of danger, police officers will be out in full force.

The increased presence is made possible by a grant from the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration.

"It'll give us an opportunity to put more officers out on the road enforcing traffic and maintaining the safety of the roadways," said McDaniel.

Another agency providing extra patrols is the Biloxi Police Department. Unlike Gulfport, Biloxi doesn't have the funding of a grant. So, the leaders of this department have to work with limited resources.

A squad of five officers will be stationed throughout the city patrolling certain areas determined by statistics. Using this system, the police department hopes to stay ahead of the game.

"What we would like to do is we would like to deter it. We would simply like to stop it before it happens," said Sergeant Brian Dykes.

He wants the public to know that it's also up to the individual to keep the roads safe this holiday season.

"Drive like you would want other people to drive, and it will solve most of the problems," said Dykes.

The police departments will be providing the extra patrols through the new year holiday.

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